Program Structure

An overview of the program structure for the Penn State Smeal Master of Corporate Finance program

This 31-credit master program provides students with a solid understanding of the theory and practice of corporate finance, emphasizing the following analytical techniques: discounted cash flow, valuation, risk and return, the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), corporate capital structure, capital budgeting, mergers and acquisitions, investment and financing decision-making and quantitative analysis.

The program starts with web resident courses in the summer and spans two academic semesters divided into 7-week modules to provide an immersive study of course content.

Summer Semester

  • Financial Accounting: Basic concepts and principles underlying financial accounting practices.
  • Applied Statistics: Covers descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, estimation, and more. 

Fall Semester

Module 1:

  • Foundations in Finance: Covers basic financial principles such as how managers use financial techniques to make business decisions and how firms use financial markets to solve problems.
  • Foundations in Managerial Accounting: Cost accounting and design of management accounting systems for planning and controlling operations.
  • Fundamentals of Financial Markets: Establishes a broad understanding of the pricing mechanism of the bond, equity, and foreign exchange markets.

Module 2:

  • Global Finance: Provides a broad exploration of international finance in the context of how a corporate strategic manager analyzes the complexities of international financial market.
  • Financial Analysis and Valuation: Builds upon and reinforces the theoretical and institutional finance frame-work learned in introductory business finance.
  • Quantitative Analysis for Managerial Decision Making: Establishes construction and use of quantitative methods in business decision-making.
  • Modern Portfolio Management Theory: Explores tools used by corporate portfolio managers; students will be able to decide on and know how to manage a diversified investment portfolio and its currency risk.

Spring Semester

Communication Skills for Management: The course provides students with the tools to clearly, forcefully, and professionally represent themselves and their ideas within a business context.

Quantitative Analysis for Real Estate: Explores widely used quantitative methods and their applications in business to solve real estate, financial, marketing, and risk management problems.

Corporate Financial Analytical Research Projects (Capstone): The capstone course integrates all of the essential concepts involved in corporate financial decision-making cultivated throughout the program. 

Students will be expected to approach the analysis as if they were a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in charge of setting strategic positioning for a simulated corporation, preparing them with the critical analysis and communication skills crucial for a successful corporate finance career.

Module 3:

  • Strategic Financial Management: Describes key concepts, tools, and principles of both strategy formulation and competitive analysis utilized by the successful corporate manager.

Module 4:

  • Global Strategy and Organization: Focuses on the "strategic" challenges facing the multinational firm.